“The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and the D” is a wild ride through bad 80’s movies. If you don’t believe me, you might want to give the 1986 film “Chopping Mall” a view. It is straight-up terrible in ways that beg for watching. Preferably with friends and with alcohol. Fortunately, “Agents of SHIELD” uses that to its advantage in its homage. Well, maybe more than just an homage since the 80’s version of the Chronicoms were lifted directly from that movie. Just don’t expect a lot of nods towards Bill and or Ted.
“The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and the D”
Last week saw the destruction of Sybil (Tamara Taylor) and her Hunter Chronicom friends at the hands of the LMD version of Coulson (Clark Gregg.) The Zephyr jumps shortly after this, but jumps away again quickly, leaving Deke (Jeff Ward) and Mack (Henry Simmons) stranded in 1982. Coulson manages to travel to the ’80s via a harddrive and a VCR. Sybil gets there via decidedly less clear means, but the destination is the journey, so you don’t find yourself questioning it too deeply. She opts to rebuild herself as best the technology of the time allows with the help of computer shop owner Russell (Austin Basis.)
Meanwhile, Deke has been a busy man. He has been trying to roust Mack back into action after witnessing the death of his parents; he’s also set up a cover band and, oh yeah, restarted SHIELD. With Deke in charge, its not precisely a SHIELD team that is familiar. “The A-Team” might be somewhat more appropriate. We have Olga (Jolene Anderson), a Russian speaking operative in search of something to hurt. There’s Roxy (Tipper Newton), who Deke proclaims to be the brains of the outfit. The Chang Brothers (John and Matt Yuan) who mostly are there to throw off a “Revenge of the Nerds” vibe, and Cricket (Ryan Donowho), who is just a bad influence. Once he decides to rejoin the team, Mack has his work cut out for him.
Not Enough Time To Mourn
The episode shortchanges Mack’s grief a bit, though. He’s been through a lot in the last few years, and he should have had a moment not buried in comedy to process it. It’s not an entirely bad thing, as perhaps we don’t need to mourn along with Mack, but it still would have been nice to give him just a little more time. That he needed time alone makes sense, that he’d become a beeraholic isn’t keeping with the character.
Sybil eventually gets to rebuilding the Hunters as well, but Mack and the ’80s Agents of SHIELD are ready for them. After a fight through the LightHouse (or the Mall, because here’s where the ‘Chopping Mall’ references start kicking in,) it appears that Sybil is defeated. The Zephyr finally returns, May (Ming Na Wen) isn’t surprised to see Coulson still kicking (well, and neither should the audience have been,) and Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova Buckley) reunites with Mack. All is good, or so it would appear. It’s SHIELD, though, and nothing ever resolves without 2 or 3 tries.
Du-du-Duh! It’s a Malick
Sybil now has a resurrection similar to Coulson and is appearing on a monitor to someone. She built a tiny robot to return the means of viewing the time-streams lost in the LightHouse. We watch this robot return for just a little too long in the episode, which could only have been because they were building up to their reveal. The person who has been helping Sybil now is none other than Nathaniel Malick (Thomas E. Sullivan,) who figured out how to survive having Daisy’s powers. Of course, the time-streams he’ll be able to view might not be as helpful. The Zephyr now seems unable to jump reliably, which may corrupt the information. Still, at least it means we only get a short and sweet glimpse of the ’80s in all of this. No one wants too much time spent there.